City straphangers pay a hefty portion of subway fares
More than anywhere else, it seems, New Yorkers pay for the subway service they get.
Subway and bus fares cover 56 percent of NYC Transits operating expenses, one of the highest percentages among public transit systems in North America.
You never see where your money goes, said Cynthia Key, 56, a Bronx rider. Its always dirty, crowded.
Transit experts saw both side of the MetroCard debate.
We have features here that no other transit system in the country has, said Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign. But we also have (subway) crowding ... that would embarrass a cattle shipper.
It takes a hodgepodge of fares, taxes and government subsidies to keep transit systems running. Throughout the United States, fares cover 34 percent of operating expenses on average, according to Federal Transit Administration figures.Unlike other systems, however, New York transit riders have to cough up money for the MTAs $27 billion in debt. The agency is the fifth largest public debt holder in the nation.
City straphangers also shoulder the burden of 44 years with the nickel fare, said Robert Paaswell, director of the University Transportation Research Center at CUNY.
Additionally, city and state subsidies to the MTA have remained basically flat since 1990, according to a city Independent Budget Office report released last year. The calculations did not factor in the $1.8 billion in new taxes and fees approved by Albany last month.
Paaswell said the 25-cent fare hike coming Sunday is negligible. City transit riders pay less than they did 30 years ago when accounting for inflation, he said.
Its worth it, said T. Walker, 55, of Canarsie. It gets me where I need to go.
The MTA declined comment.
Shayndi Raice contributed to this story.
The cost of a ride
Percent of day-to-day expenses at MTA agencies covered by fares:
56: New York City Transit
15: Staten Island Railway
Percent of other transit systems day-to-day expenses covered by fares:
40: Washington, D.C.
Sources: MTA, University Transportation Research Center at CUNY
1. Straphangers slow to catch on to coming $2.25 fares